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    Columbia Campus
  Jul 13, 2024
2009-2010 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) 
2009-2010 Graduate Studies Bulletin (Archived Copy) [Archived Catalog]

English Language and Literature

William Elbert Rivers, Interim Chair   

Faculty Degree Requirements
Overview Programs and Courses
Admission Website


The Department of English offers programs leading to the M.A., M.F.A., and Ph.D. degrees with areas of emphasis in English and American literature (M.A. and Ph.D.), composition and rhetoric (M.A. and Ph.D.), and speech communication (M.A.). The department also offers joint master’s degrees with the School of Library and Information Science (M.A./M.L.I.S.) and the Moore School of Business (M.A./M.S.) (see Graduate Dual Degree Programs ). The M.A.T. degree in English is offered in cooperation with the College of Education. Interdisciplinary affiliations with African American Studies, Southern Studies, and Women’s Studies increase the range of course options and research opportunities within degree programs.

As the number and variety of degree programs suggest, our graduates pursue careers in many fields, including college- and university-level teaching, public and private secondary education, librarianship, publishing, creative and technical writing, journalism, public relations, and business administration. Graduates of our doctoral programs are especially well qualified for academic careers, and they enter tenure-track positions upon graduation at a rate consistently higher than the national average.


Applicants for admission to the M.A., M.F.A., or Ph.D. degree programs in the Department of English must have completed a minimum of 24 semester hours of upper-division undergraduate courses in English or an appropriate related discipline, with grades indicating ability for successful graduate work in the department. Applicants for all degrees must submit all application forms required by The Graduate School, satisfactory scores on the GRE general test, a sample of academic writing, a statement of purpose, and at least two satisfactory letters of recommendation from persons familiar with their academic achievement. The GRE subject test of literature in English is required of applicants to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs in English and American Literature. The GRE subject test of literature in English is not required of applicants to the MA programs in speech or in composition and rhetoric, nor is it required of applicants to the Ph.D. program in composition and rhetoric.

Successful applicants to the M.A., M.A.T., and M.F.A. programs typically have GRE verbal scores of 550 and above (for tests taken before October 2002), GRE analytical scores in the 3-5 range (for tests taken October 2002 and after), and an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or better. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program generally have GRE verbal and analytical scores of 600 (for tests taken before October 2002) and a GPA of 3.50 or better in their master’s degree course work. These numbers are provided as guidelines; we do not set absolute cut-off scores. All parts of an application are carefully considered, with especially close attention given to the writing sample.

An applicant who lacks adequate undergraduate course work may have to take up to 12 credit hours of 400-level literature or communication courses (depending on the degree emphasis sought) before the application will be considered.

The application deadline is January 15 for those wishing to be considered for graduate assistantships and fellowships. For all others the deadline is April 15.

Degree Requirements

Residence and other basic requirements for degrees in English are established by The Graduate School. Special requirements established by the department are outlined below.

Graduate credit for degree candidates in English normally is restricted to courses numbered 700 or above. Qualified graduate students may enroll in courses numbered 500-699 with the approval of the department’s director of graduate studies and may receive graduate credit by doing such additional work as required by the department and the instructor. The chair of the department may authorize students in other departments or schools to obtain graduate credit in most English courses numbered 500-699.

English Language and Literature